A partnership between local fishermen and state government has met its goal of harvesting 5 million pounds of invasive Asian Carp this year.
The Kentucky Fish Center is contracted with the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources to provide fishermen with buyers and incentives to harvest Asian Carp. State Fisheries Director Ron Brooks said this year’s harvest is more than double last year, and that the harvest has hovered around two million pounds for the past few years.
Brooks said the jump in harvest numbers had a lot to do with the Kentucky Fish Center. This year was the center’s first year of operation.
“Commercial fisherman know they have a place to go to sell fish and as long as the markets are there, the fish house has a goal,” Brooks said. “They’ve got a lot of incentives to take on new fisherman and new fish.”
The goal this year included fishing 3 million pounds of invasive carp out of Kentucky Lake and Lake Barkley. Western Kentucky Fisheries said fishermen exceeded that goal by harvesting 4.8 million pounds out of the lakes.
Brooks said the contract increases the harvest goal each year. Next year’s goal is 5 million pounds out of the lakes and 8 million pounds overall out of state waters. Brooks said he thinks fishermen will have no problem meeting next year’s goal.
“If it’s successful, I think we’ll also be successful in terms of actually controlling the numbers of Asian Carp in Kentucky and Barkley Lakes,” Brooks said.
The eventual goal is 20 million pounds harvested each year.